Terry R. Baughman
“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6).
Have you ever looked on a directory or a map in a public place trying to determine where you were going? A predominate feature is the big dot or an arrow point to your present location, “You are here!” It is an obvious fact that before you can find directions to a desired destination you first must know where you are. Our orientation begins with our present position.
Two things are critical when we are seeking direction: where you are and where you are going. A former college instructor once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” So it is not just important where you are presently but also where you would like to go.
That was the reason for the commission Jesus gave to His followers. He said, “Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47 NIV), but before launching out into all the world He told them to, “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 NIV). Before they could know where to go, it was vital to know where they were. They were in the place of promise, a place of power, and a place of preparation. Jesus told them plainly before His ascension, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Jesus gave His followers the GPS coordinates of their mission. They were instructed to be witnesses in Jerusalem. That was their present location, the community of their conversion. When the Holy Spirit was experienced the sound of it would reach the surrounding area where multitudes from many places had gathered for the feast day in Jerusalem. In God’s perfect timing they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues magnifying God. The door was opened for their witness to the thousands gathered in the Temple square. From there the message and their opportunities spread to the surrounding region, throughout Judea and to Samaria (Acts 8).
God’s plan is to reach every receptive heart regardless of their location. He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The field is the world and that is our mission. However, the pattern given to the first followers will serve us as well. Let our first mission be at home, here in our neighborhoods, our communities, our villages and states. Our first responsibility is to share the good news of the living Christ with those who are near us. The network of family, friends, and acquaintances is our primary responsibility. While the passion of the work of the Kingdom is far reaching and our ultimate vision may be to minister in some far-flung corner of the globe, our first step is to be a missionary at home. Take the first step and other paths will unfold. Step out in faith locally and you will be enabled to reach out globally.
The field is the world, and the world is here!
“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).